by By Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis:
https://www.thenation.com/article/socie ... i-protest/
(The Nation)Ten years ago this month, Occupy Wall Street unexpectedly inaugurated a new wave of protest. The domestic manifestation of a worldwide explosion of digitally networked social movements, it scaled up rapidly, attracting enormous public and media attention. But the protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park and other occupied spaces after only a few months, and Occupy dissipated soon afterward. Some commentators have dismissed it as a meteoric flash in the pan, while others have criticized its “horizontalist” structure and lack of concrete demands.
After speaking recently with more than 20 activists who were centrally involved in the movement, we beg to differ with such negative assessments. “Occupy wasn’t a blip, it was a spark!” declared one, veteran organizer Nastaran Mohit. “It was a turning point, a spark that led to many fires.”
by David Dayen:
https://prospect.org/politics/occupy-wa ... nnie-wong/
(The American Prospect) Friday is the tenth anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street, a monthslong activist annexation of public space around the world. Almost to this day, the media depicts Occupy as an inchoate mass of discontented young people with no real ideas or specifics or strategy to bend politics to their liking. And yet in 2011, when it began, the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer was trying to figure out how to cut Social Security and raise the Medicare eligibility age in a grand bargain with Republicans over the deficit. Today, the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer, the previous standard-bearer’s vice president, is trying to spend trillions of dollars to give people universal pre-kindergarten; free community college; expanded health care, child care, and elder care benefits; and a Child Tax Credit that amounts to a universal basic income for children.
This shift within Democratic politics would not have been possible without a progressive movement that sprang in large part from Occupy, both in its willingness for confrontation and in its analysis of how the economy was not working for most people. Occupy has direct linkages to the movement to fight inequality, the movement to cancel student debt, and both of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns, which were staffed by a number of Occupy veterans. Occupy also demonstrated how the state can crush dissenters of all kinds, giving rise to further scrutiny of police brutality.
One of the first people in Zuccotti Park in New York City, the original Occupy encampment, was Winnie Wong, a founding organizer who went on to work on both Sanders campaigns, and now continues as a media maker and online activist. She reflected on ten years since Occupy and how it precipitated social and political change. (See link to article above this quote box for the interview with Winnie Wong).
by Michael Levitin:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ca/620064/
(The Atlantic) A decade before United Nations climate scientists issued a “code red for humanity,” the 20-year-old college junior Evan Weber joined several thousand protesters descending on Wall Street to declare a code red for democracy. At the height of the Great Recession, Weber and his generation saw the climate crisis staring them in the face, along with exploding wealth and income inequality, student debt, and housing and health-care costs. On September 17, 2011, they rebelled. Pointing a finger at banks, corporations, and the wealthiest 1 percent, whom they blamed for corrupting our democracy by buying elections to control the legislative process, the protesters camping in Zuccotti Park issued a clarion call for justice: “We are the 99 percent.” That fall, hundreds of thousands of people joined Occupy Wall Street and its partner occupations in more than 600 U.S. towns and cities. Overnight, the movement created a new narrative around economic inequality—and seized the public’s attention. Polls showed that a wide majority of Americans supported Occupy.
Then, almost as quickly as it had arrived, the movement appeared to vanish, leaving behind little except for the language of the 99 and the 1 percent. In the decade since, the wealth gap has only widened. The rules haven’t changed; our system remains rigged to benefit those at the top. And yet, on the tenth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, it’s clear that the movement has had lasting, visible impacts on our political and cultural landscape—igniting an era of resistance that has redefined economic rights, progressive politics, and activism for a generation.